Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 20 Dec 2019
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mrs X’s complaint that the Council did not arrange for her to be a proxy voter as it is outside his legal remit.
- The complainant, whom I shall call Mrs X, complains the Council failed to arrange for her to vote by proxy on behalf of her mother.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
- We cannot investigate a complaint where the body complained about is not responsible for the issue being raised. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(1), as amended)
- Returning Officers for elections act in their own capacity, not as officers of a local authority. (Representation of the People Act 1983, sections 23(2))
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered what Mrs X said in her complaint.
What I found
- Mrs X complains the Council failed to arrange for her to vote by proxy on behalf of her mother.
- The Returning Officer is responsible for the organisation of elections and in doing this works in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the Council. Because of this, we cannot investigate.
- My decision is that the Ombudsman cannot investigate as he has no legal remit to investigate the organisation of elections.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman